Category Archive: Global Macro

Emerging Markets: Week Ahead Preview

EM FX ended last week on a mixed note. Indeed, the week and the month were also very much mixed for EM, reflecting a variety of global and country-specific drivers impacting these countries. This week’s US jobs data could bring Fed tightening back as a major driver for EM.

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Housing’s Echo Bubble Now Exceeds the 2006-07 Bubble Peak

A funny thing often occurs after a mania-fueled asset bubble pops: an echo-bubble inflates a few years later, as monetary authorities and all the institutions that depend on rising asset valuations go all-in to reflate the crushed asset class.

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Emerging Markets: What has Changed

Moody’s moved the outlook on Vietnam’s B1 rating from stable to positive. Nigeria’s central bank introduced a new FX window for portfolio investors. Moody’s moved the outlook on Romania’s Baa3 rating from positive to stable. Central Bank of Russia accelerated its easing cycle. Central Bank of Turkey delivered a hawkish surprise. Brazil’s lower house easily approved the labor reforms, but popular resistance is rising.

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‘Dollar’ ‘Improvement’

According to the headline TIC statistics, foreign central banks have in the past six months sold the fewest UST’s since the 6-month period ended November 2015. That may indicate an easing of “dollar” pressure in the private markets due to “reflation” sentiment.

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Who Will Live in the Suburbs if Millennials Favor Cities?

Who's going to pay bubble-valuation prices for the millions of suburban homes Baby Boomers will be off-loading in the coming decade as they retire/ downsize?Longtime readers know I follow the work of urbanist Richard Florida, whose recent book was the topic of Are Cities the Incubators of Decentralized Solutions?(March 14, 2017).

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PBoC: Mechanical Tightening PBoC is China Central Bank

The mainstream narrative as it relates to Chinese money is “tightening.” Having survived the economic downturn last year, we are to believe that the PBOC is once again on bubble duty. They raised their reverse repo rates, considered to be their policy benchmarks, three times up to mid-March.

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To The Asian ‘Dollar’, And Then What?

The Bretton Woods system was intentionally set up to funnel monetary convertibility through official channels. The primary characteristic of any true gold standard is that any person who wishes can change paper claims into hard money. It was as much true in any one country as between those bound by the same legal framework (property).

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Our State-Corporate Plantation Economy

I have often discussed the manner in which the U.S. economy is a Plantation Economy, meaning it has a built-in financial hierarchy with corporations at the top dominating a vast populace of debt-serfs/ wage slaves with little functional freedom to escape the system's neofeudal bonds.

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Bi-Weekly Economic Review

It wasn’t a very good two weeks for economic data with the majority of reports disappointing. Most notable I think is that the so called “soft data” is starting to reflect reality rather than some fantasy land where President Trump enacts his entire agenda in the first 100 days of being in office. Politics is about the art of the possible and that is proving a short list for now.

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Money In America

In 1830, France was once more swept up in revolution, only this time at the end of it was installed one king to replace another. Louis-Phillipe became, in fact, France’s last king as a result of that July Revolution. The country was trying to make sense of its imperial past with the growing democratic sentiments of the 19th century.

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Marx, Orwell and State-Cartel Socialism

When "socialist" states have to impose finance-capital extremes that even exceed the financialization of nominally capitalist economies, it gives the lie to their claims of "socialism." OK, so our collective eyes start glazing over when we see Marx and Orwell in the subject line, but refill your beverage and stay with me on this. 

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Our Intellectual Bankruptcy: The “Religion” of Economics, UBI and Medicare For All

1. Mainstream neo-classical/ Keynesian economics. As economist Manfred Max-Neef notes in this interview, neo-classical/ Keynesian economics is no longer a discipline or a science--it is a religion. It demands a peculiar faith in nonsense: for example, the environment--Nature-- is merely a subset of the economy.

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New Patterns of Disturbance

Having finally established that the economy of the “rising dollar” was appreciably worse than first estimated, we can turn our attention back toward figuring out what that means for the near future and beyond. According to the latest estimates for Industrial Production, growth has returned but in the same weird asymmetric sort of way that is actually common for the past decade. Year-over-year IP expanded by 1.5% in March 2017, the highest growth...

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Global Asset Allocation Update

There is no change to the risk budget this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between risk assets and bonds is unchanged at 50/50. The performance of markets in the first quarter of the year was a bit schizophrenic. Stocks performed well which one might interpret as a reflection of improving economic growth prospects. Certainly President Trump and his proxies were quick to take credit but unfortunately for the new...

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Now You Tell Us

As we move further into 2017, economic statistics will be subject to their annual benchmark revisions. High frequency data such as any accounts published on or about a single month is estimated using incomplete data. It’s just the nature of the process. Over time, more comprehensive survey results as well as upgrades to statistical processes make it necessary for these kinds of revisions.

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The Left’s Descent to Fascism

The Left is morally and fiscally bankrupt, devoid of coherent solutions, and corrupted by its embrace of the Corporatocracy. History often surprises us with unexpected ironies. For the past century, the slide to fascism could be found on the Right (conservative, populist, nationalist political parties).

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The Expanded Retail Sales Gap

Retail sales growth in February 2017 was going to be low by virtue of its comparison to February 2016 and the extra day in that month. The Census Bureau’s autoregressive models are supposed to normalize just these kinds of calendar irregularities so that we can make something close to apples to apples comparisons. The seasonally-adjusted estimate for February, however, was calculated to be less than the one for January 2017, therefore suggesting...

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Assessing China’s Economic Risks

First quarter GDP in China rose 6.9%, better than expected and above the government’s target (6.5%) for 2017. It stands to reason, however, that if Communist officials thought they could get 6.9% to last for the whole year they would have made it their target, especially since 6.5% would be less than the GDP growth rate for 2016 (6.7%). In only that one way is China’s GDP statistic meaningful.

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Emerging Markets: Preview of the Week Ahead

EM FX was mostly firmer last week, helped by Trump comments and softer US data. Whilst this seems positive for EM, the global backdrop remains uncertain. Some in EM (Russia, Turkey, and Korea) remain vulnerable to geopolitical concerns. In addition, idiosyncratic domestic political risks remain in play for other EM countries, such as Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey. We expect the investment climate for EM to remain challenging this week.

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What Was Chinese Trade in March?

As with all statistics, there are discrepancies that from time to time may obscure the meaning or validity of the particular estimate in question. For the vast majority of the time, any such uncertainties amount to very little. Overall, harmony among the major accounts reduces the signal noise from any one featuring a significant inconsistency.

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